Trail Guide: Coverage of the first Clinton-Trump debate

Ryue Nishizawa

Toyo Ito's architecture beckons a critic to Asia

Toyo Ito's architecture beckons a critic to Asia

Jet lag can do strange things to a person. But it wasn't just a mixed-up body clock that had me awake at 3 a.m. during a trip to Japan a few years ago, madly scrolling through online ferry schedules and trying to plot a route by train, boat and taxi to a new architecture museum on the southern island of Omishima. It was also a long-standing interest — OK, maybe an infatuation — with the work of Japanese architect Toyo Ito.

Since the economic crisis of 2008, there's been a substantial backlash against the idea that critics should write exclusively, or even mostly, about stand-alone buildings by prominent architects. We've found broader and more complex ways to explore the...